How To Build a (Semi) Solid Wall Yurt

The handbook, "How To Build A Yurt (solid wall design) is now available at or at www.robertflee.books.php. To purchase this handbook from Amazon or Smashwords, visit or and search for the title under the author's name, Robert F. Lee. The semi-rigid walled yurt described in this booklet can be constructed in less than 40 hours and assembled or disassembled on site in under three hours, by one person!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Portable Yurt Floor Design

This article is part of a how-to-guide for building a semi-solid wall yurt.
The floor, like the rest of this yurt, is designed to be lightweight, portable, easily assembled and disassembled, inexpensive and durable.  These may seem difficult standards to reconcile, but are surprisingly simple.  Materials consist of high density rigid foam insulation,  plywood clips, 2 by 2s, one-by-six lengths of spruce, pine or fir, one-by-three lengths of SPF, 7/16 (or ½) OSB or plywood and a small quantity of 2”, 2 ½” and 3” deck screws, as well as a few pieces of scrap wood for levelling the floor on uneven surfaces.
Begin by cutting seven lengths of eight-foot 1*6 into 94.5 inches for each of the eight-foot by eight-foot sections of the 16 by 16 foot yurt platform .  If you are planning on including a deck in the design, allow for two more sections of platform.  Mark along the face of each 1*6 the depth of the rigid insulation that you will be using.  (Minimum recommended thickness is 1.5”).
Next, cut twelve pieces of one-by-three to 94.5 inch lengths per platform section.
Using wood or carpenter’s glue, apply a liberal amount of adhesive to the side of a one-by-three, then align the one-by-three top edge with the marks on each one-by-six and clamp together.  Using the 2” screws, join the two pieces, placing screws offset from each other at one-foot intervals.  Each 8*8 section will require two of these joined sets.
Using the same process, attach one-by-threes to each side of a one-by-six.  You will require five of these sets per eight-foot section of platform.
(Note that the use of 1 by 6 joined floor joists is intended to provide the most lightweight option for your portable yurt floor. If you are unconcerned about weight and portability, substitute this assembly for 2*6 joists, with 1.5" (or 2", depending upon thickness of your rigid insulation) deep by 0.5" wide notches on either side of the joist, allowing the insulation to rest in these channels upon completion)
Next, cut two 1*6s into four lengths of 14.5 inches and two lengths of 13.75 inches per board (per platform section)
Mark two 1*6s at 16” intervals.  Lay out and temporarily screw together the assembled 1*6/1*3 combinations to each of the marked 1*6s, so that the 1*6 parts of the combinations are centred on the 16” marks, forming a framework of seven joists and two 1*6 headers.
Using the first 13.75 piece of 1*6, fasten it on the inside of the 1*6 marked header, between the first and second 1*6/1*3 combination joist with three 2” screws and wood glue.  This piece should fit tightly between these segments.  Do the same between the last two joists of the section, and repeat on the other header.  Using each of the 14.5 inch pieces, screw them in place between each of the remaining joists.  All pieces should fit snugly in place.  If they do not, re-measure and realign the spaces between the joists, keeping in mind that the 4by 8 foot sheet of OSB that will be used later as a subfloor must align precisely along the centre of the 1*6 joist.
Cut two 2*2s into four lengths of 14.5 inches and two lengths of 13.75 inches per board (per platform section).  Aligning the 2*2 top edge with the top edge of the 1*3 part of the 1*6/1*3 combination, fit one of these pieces between the joists at the 2.5 foot distance from each header.  This will provide additional support for the rigid insulation that will rest in the channels created by the joist assemblies.
Cut four pieces of 2*2 into ____ lengths, with 45 degree end cuts.  Toenail one end of the first piece to the third joist where the cross brace 2*2 meets the joist, and the other end along the adjacent fourth joist.  Fasten the second piece in the same manner between the fourth and fifth joist.  Fasten the third piece between the second and third joists on the opposite end, and the fourth between the fifth and sixth joist.  These braces provide diagonal support while you complete the assembly, and help to support the rigid insulation.
Cut the 1.5 inch rigid insulation into four pieces measuring 14.5 inches wide by 94.5 inches.  Cut two pieces of rigid insulation measuring 13.75” by 94.5”.  Fit each of these pieces into the cavities between the joists, using the narrow 13.75” pieces on each end.
Lastly, lay out the two sheets of OSB across the joists, parallel to the joists and with the edge of the sheet exactly aligned along the centre of the fourth joist.  Ensure that all outer edges align, as well, with the edges of the joists and headers, so that the structure is square. Screw OSB into place using 2” deck screws. 
Your floor deck is complete, and may be finished using indoor/outdoor carpet loosely laid on top.
Time to cut and assemble floor: 1.5-2.0 hours per 8*8 platform section.